What are you feeding your horse this autumn? New study to examine equine supplements

Horse and rider
05 Oct 2011 11:18:16.243
PA 297/11

A research team at The University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science is appealing for horse riders and owners to come forward to take part in a unique new study into equine nutritional supplements.

The research will focus on nutritional supplements for horses competing in dressage and eventing and will aim to discover what supplements are currently used, what riders and owners would like to see available and the best ways of passing on information about them.

The researchers hope to improve understanding of the key health and performance issues in these disciplines and how nutritional supplementation could be improved to support this.
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Dr Sarah Freeman, Associate Professor and European Specialist in Large Animal Surgery, who is supervising the study said: “Nutritional supplements are commonly used for health and performance in horses and there are a large range of them available on the market. Despite their widespread use, there is little information available about which supplements are used and why.

“Research in human athletes has helped to understand what type of supplements athletes want and the best ways of passing on information and advice. However, this is the first time that this type of research has been done in horses.”

The study is being undertaken by two third-year veterinary students, Charlotte Agar and Rachael Gemmill, in collaboration with Dr Teresa Hollands at Dodson & Horrell Limited, a leading manufacturer of horse feeds, including nutritional supplements.

Riders and owners are being asked to fill in an online survey available at

The researchers will then follow up with selected volunteers who will be interviewed to explore some of the issues in greater depth.

Dr Teresa Hollands, nutritionist at Dodson & Horrell and a specialist lecturer in animal nutrition at Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, said: “Nutritional guidelines for horses are designed to support a healthy gut, to decrease chronic disease risk and improve overall performance. However as the research with human athletes has shown, there is often a discrepancy between awareness, understanding and use of food and supplements.

“With the Olympics on the horizon this research is particularly timely; not only do we want to use the results to support our elite horses but also to provide an information legacy for all horse owners and riders.”

The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science at The University of Nottingham is the first new vet school to be established in the UK for more than 50 years, having taken its first intake of students in September 2006.

In July, the school celebrated its first year of graduating veterinary surgeons and has established a reputation for outstanding success in veterinary education and research, demonstrating strengths in areas including evidence-based medicine and knowledge transfer.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Sarah Freeman on +44 (0)115 951 6422, sarah.freeman@nottingham.ac.uk

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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